Cheerfulness is the very flower of health.

~ Proverb ~

Happy With Nothing?

April 9th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 48 secs

Can you be happy regardless?

Can you really be happy with nothing? I don’t think so. Because happiness is always tied to something.

For some people, being happy means a shiny bright car, new clothes, a luxury vacation, renovation, or home. While others will feel good so long as there’s something else to look forward to. With enough entertainment, they will remain as pleased as punch.

But what about those people who are dreadfully poor who manage to be happy in spite of their circumstances? How they can possibly be happy with nothing?

On the face of it, it seems they are happy because of their lack. But that doesn’t make sense (as a grinding and misery inducing state to be in, poverty is definitely no picnic).

What those who are happy have is a hidden wealth. What they lack in material possessions they make up with gratitude, kindness, and dignity. To say these things are nothing would be missing everything.

That means we can all be happy regardless whether we have much or a little. The hardships of poverty are dealt with squarely everyday by millions. Those who take it with as much good grace as they can eke out the simplest of pleasures despite their difficulty. While those of us who have so much materially must face our own realities and choose how we will face them too.

Circumstances may induce happiness, but we have the added capacity to find delight in more enduring aspects (like gratitude, kindness, and dignity). Short of experiencing depression or grief, living in a disappointed state is entirely optional. If we apply enough thankfulness to remember (say) 6 things at any given moment that make us fortunate, we can spark a different form of self-talk altogether.

Yet, if there is ever a battle in your mind about whether to be happy or discontent, it comes down to a matter of values. Is there more in it for you to be miserable? Or, will being happy be of more help for you to live well?

The key is in the meanings we make. Is being happy a high priority, even when you need to generate it in the face of difficulty? Or, is happiness best appreciated when it comes to you out of the blue (even if comes less often as a consequence)? The choices we make shape the way we go, regardless of how tough life can be. So, no matter what we’ve got or not, our decisions are the things that can richly bear fruit. Because thoughtful happiness is something wonderful in itself.


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